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Effects of Betrayal

 

Explanations > Trust > Effects of Betrayal

Distress | Loss of trust | Justice | So what?

 

Distress

The most immediate effect of the betrayal of trust is in the emotional impact on the person betrayed. Generally speaking, the greater the trust that you had put in the other person and the greater the impact their betrayal has on you, then the greater the distress you will feel.

A number of different emotions may be felt upon realizing you have been betrayed. The most common is anger although, depending on the situation, you might the fear of loss of the relationship and repulsion at the lack of integrity of the other person.

Loss of trust

When you are betrayed by someone, it is highly likely that you will not easily trust them again. Trust is fragile and can be lost instantly or there is a hysterisis whereby a long-earned trust may be eroded and then suddenly lost.

Justice

When a person feels that they have been betrayed, they may well seek some form of justice, putting right (at least for them) what they feel has been wronged, including their sensibilities.

Note that justice and fairness are different things and vary with context. From a personal view, justice means 'making me feel better'. From a national view, it means carrying out the law, no matter how unfair this may seem.

So what?

So don't get into these situations!! If you betray someone, it is often best to come clean. Accept responsibility for personal failure and personally apologize. Demonstrate how you will fix process failure, and offer compensation.

The alternatives to these recovery actions may cost you much more.

Note: A small betrayal can, in fact, actually help. The way it works is that you fail in a relatively unimportant way, then go overboard in recovery. The message sent is 'we care so much about you even for the small things (so just imagine how much we care about the bigger things)'. Done well, it can actually increase loyalty. Of course it should not be known that you are deliberately doing this.

See also

Four types of justice

http://www.beyondintractability.org/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Justice

 

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